Small businesses account for nearly half of all jobs in the US economy, and nearly half of all small businesses are owned by Baby Boomers who will retire in the next few decades in what has been termed the "silver tsunami". These businesses are integral to local communities, and there continued operation is key to building back our economy. In this episode we talk to Brett Jones of Evergreen Cooperatives and Ellen Vera of Co-op Cincy about each of their organization's new loan funds designed to help convert existing businesses into employee owned companies, giving owners, workers, and communities an opportunity to build wealth and meet the challenge of the silver tsunami.
Brett joined Evergreen Cooperatives in 2013 working for Evergreen Business Services (EBS) as the Director of Strategic Projects. In 2016 he served as the Interim-President of Evergreen Energy Solutions and returned to EBS in 2017. Brett is focused on the growth and development of our Fund for Employee Ownership which provides low-cost flexible capital to help retiring business owners sell their businesses to their employees. When not helping companies convert to an employee-owned structure, he is leading other cities through the adaptation of Evergreen’s anchor institution based model of economic inclusion and community wealth-building. A Fulbright Fellow, Brett is a graduate of The Ohio State University and holds an MBA from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.
Ellen Vera has organized people from diverse backgrounds to improve their workplaces for more than a decade. She became a Co-Founder of Co-op Cincy and of 1worker1vote in 2011 to develop a more sustainable model of organizing, economic democracy and wealth-building with marginalized communities. Ellen oversees new co-op organizing projects, the launch of Co-op Cincy’s education arm, Co-op U, and helps coordinate the Business Legacy Fund, which provides interested selling business owners and education, technical assistance and capital they need to sell their businesses to their employees.
This episode of the Owners At Work podcast is sponsored by Crowe, a leading ESOP administrator and consultant, with more than 525 ESOP clients. They serve as third-party administrators for ESOPs and all other types of defined contribution plans, and also perform feasibility studies, assist clients with structuring and implementing ESOPs, and forecast and plan for repurchase obligation.
The Owners at Work Podcast is a continuation of the biannual Owners at Work Newsletter which ran for 19 years (1990-2019). We are hoping to continue the same conversations and focus on providing updates on everything employee ownership. We plan to interview practitioners with expertise in different facets of employee ownership, academics doing new and interesting research, and most importantly, individuals who have a personal experience with employee ownership, including current and former employee-owners, mid-level to C suite management, and selling owners.
We want to produce a show that engages with relevant questions and provides practical lessons and information. We want this podcast to include the voices of those who practice employee-ownership each and every day. To that end we want to hear from you! We want to highlight what you are doing, whether you are an employee-owned company, a practitioner, or researcher.
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